Indoor Plumbing Rampant in Venezuela

Hat tip to Albino Hayford, who pointed me to a Washington Post article about Evangelicals in Venezuela, who would certainly not be comfortable in the primitive trappings of our W2K Outhouse. Observe:

Every Sunday, Ana González wears one of her best suits to attend Las Acacias, the largest evangelical Christian church in Caracas.

And each week, four days later, she laces up combat boots and tucks her hair into an olive green military cap to report for duty with Venezuela’s army reserves, a foot soldier in President Hugo Chávez’s military.

“I believe in Jesus Christ because he was a revolutionary,” said González, 47. “I follow Chávez because I believe in the things Chávez is doing. He is also a revolutionary.”

…”A lot of people have left Las Acacias because the pastor identifies with the opposition,” González said. “Many Chavistas have said, ‘We’re not coming here anymore.’ ”

But González and her husband stayed, if only to reach more Christians for Chávez.

…In Chávez’s fight to bring Venezuelans into the fold of his “socialist revolution,” churches have become important battlegrounds. Many pastors here say they avoid talking politics, but admit that the issues riveting the nation don’t stop at the church doors. The question has become not whether to follow Christ, but whether to also follow Chávez.

The president routinely invokes religion. Last year, he celebrated his reelection by reading a biblical passage describing the communal lifestyles of first-century Christians. He has also frequently mentioned that his revolution will create a “new man,” an echo of a theme of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament Epistles.

…In 2002, when the president won back control of the government after a violent two-day coup, [Evang. Pastor] Pérez accepted an invitation to appear on state-run television to revel in what he called the “divine intervention” that restored a “free Venezuela.”

“There is more freedom now for Christians than ever before,” Pérez said after dancing with his congregation for more than two hours during a Sunday morning service…

…[But for a pastor who “identifies with the opposition”] Olson’s church [Las Acacias], which boasts nearly 5,000 members, can’t avoid the spotlight. Already, Las Acacias is under surveillance, Olson said, its Web site monitored and church leaders’ phones tapped.

The church is preparing for a time when the government shuts its doors. Already, members have divided themselves into groups based on where they live. If the government shutters the church, each group will have its own pastor and support staff. Las Acacias will be able to survive, Olson said.

(To read the full article, you might need to register for free at WashingtonPost.com)

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9 Responses to Indoor Plumbing Rampant in Venezuela

  1. RubeRad says:

    But González and her husband stayed, if only to reach more Christians for Chávez.

    Talk about “Evangelism”!

  2. Zrim says:

    Funny how it is easy to point out the these foibles in foreign lands where we don’t identify with the particular politics, but we do the very same thing here where we cannot fathom that God would not be on our side about this or that or against the other guy over that or this. (“Those dumb Venezualean Evangelicals and their social gospel! Now, be sure you get it right this time: it’s Psalm 139 that shuts all discussions about Roe v. Wade; and it is ‘Son’s,’ not ‘Sun’s,’ of righteousness that bring forth civil rights and tear down Jim Crow laws. OK, now get out there and and show the world we Americans know just what God wants in a country!)

    Something about lumber and eyes comes to mind…

  3. Got an email from a friend who knows Pastor Olson, and he says that they are preparing for a complete slide into totalitarianism, already getting ready to go underground (I think the article mentions that).

    On an ironic note, the audio from a week ago, when Spain’s King told Chavez to “shutup” is now the most popular ring tone on Venezuelan cellphones…so not everybody is drinking the koolaid.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101386.stm

  4. RubeRad says:

    Well it’s nice that Venezuelan citizens are not bowing to tyrrany, but the point is that the proper response to “it’s so wrong that Venezuelan churches are supporting Chavez” is not “wouldn’t it be great if Venezuelan churches were opposing Chavez”.

    I do want to note that this article gives no evidence that Olson was using his church to oppose Chavez. It is entirely believable that Olson and his church may have come under attack from a tyrannical regime for being properly apolitical, and failing to show explicit support for Chavez.

  5. Like I said on your other blog, shame on all the White pastors in the South who never stood up against the evil of discrimination and refused to support Black preachers. Stand up, lift your voice, speak out.

    As to Chavez, I think you’re right about Olson, but I do think Christians must continue to practice Christianity in the face of tyranny, but must also be willing to pay the price for civil disobedience (like the apostles did).

  6. Zrim says:

    Albino helps make my point: they can’t do it, but we Americans can.

    Tell me, Albino: why heap shame on white preachers who didn’t follow the script of the post-civil rights after-school special? What in the world does the Gospel have to do with making sure blacks have civil rights? What does the term “social gospel” mean to you?

  7. PRCalDude says:

    Huh. Weird. Evangelium is taking on a 1920s liberalism almost everywhere we look.

    The general assembly of the PCUSA ruled on slavery both before and after the Civil War. Lee Irons discussed the ruling in one of his sermons on Ephesians.

    It’s unclear to me how politics can even be mentioned from the pulpit if you’re just preaching expository (Biblical) sermons. I’ve not heard politics come up on Sunday mornings in Kim’s church.

  8. Zrim says:

    Dude,

    No, you’re right, you have to go to his blog for that.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist that friendly jab.

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